Low carb dieting has been a fad for some time from big Hollywood actors and actresses to stay-at-home moms. But how does this fad diet really work? Carbohydrates when consumed into the body are utilized by all of the major organs including the heart, brain, kidneys and liver. Any excess carbs are then processed and used as energy for the muscles, and anything left over after that is stored as bodily fats. The reason for this is the body compiles the excess for use later on when it may not have sufficient energy. The human body is comparable to a gas and electric hybrid car, that is to say it can run off of more than one type of energy source. In this case fats or carbohydrates. When the human body does not have enough carbohydrates to stabilize itself it switches from using carbohydrates and goes into a process called ketosis, a state in which the body begins running off of bodily fats. When the body does not have ample carbohydrates to fuel itself the body kicks into ketosis in a matter of one to three days. During this time period expect to feel a little uncomfortable and sluggish, a normal occurrence which will subside. This occurrence is commonly experienced the very first time you go into ketosis.
What should be consumed to bring the body into ketosis? Lowering carbohydrates alone may not be enough. To encourage this process increase your healthy fat intake (for example, fish oil, avocado, flax seed or coconut oil). It is important to stop consumption of grains as well as most fruits. Carefully study labels of any food products for hidden carbohydrate content. Consume lots of low starch vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and peppers. In addition meats and most cheeses are ok to consume but not in excess.
Be aware, if you are lifting heavy weights during this time period you will want to knock yourself out of ketosis once a week and have a free carbohydrate loading day. At this time it’s actually important to load up on carbohydrates. It will help build more muscle by causing your body, while in ketosis, to become more insulin sensitive and release more human growth hormone. Also while in ketosis your body runs at a more constant and stable energy level. This in turn provides for better cognitive function and higher energy levels. As well, ketosis causes testosterone to become unbinded and available to the body.